Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Washington, D.C. in January? Program of PAHA 2014 Conference

PAHA 2014 Annual Meeting Program
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Rd NW
Washington, D.C., DC 20008, 202-328-2000


Program of Events:

On January 3 and 4, 2014, one of Polonia’s most venerable organizations will hold its Annual Meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. The conference will gather over 30 scholars presenting their current research during eight scholarly sessions dedicated to such topics as: Protest and Exile, Polish Immigrant and Ethnic Women, Between the Revolutionary War and World War II, Polish Immigrant and Ethnic Identities, Religious Leaders and Communities, and Stories of World War II. Individual presenters will discuss: Pułaski’s burial, Polish troops in the American Civil War, General Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Pope John Paul II in America, World War II mementos and family histories, Polish children in exile, Polish-Jewish émigré composers and their inclusion into Polish music history, writings by women, American support for Warsaw in 1944, Polish-American press in Canada and the U.S., careers of second generation émigrés, Polish documents at the Library of Congress, dialects in Polish folk theater, and much more.

A special book forum will be dedicated to Mieczysław B.B. Biskupski’s The United States and the Rebirth of Poland, 1914–18 (with comments by noted historians Prof. Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and Prof. James Pula, Purdue University North Central). The Conference will end with a screening of Mariusz Kotkowski’s Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema held on Saturday, January 4, 2014: 5:30 PM at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Jefferson Room. PAHA Annual Awards for research in the field of Polish American Studies will be announced during the Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, January 3, 2014. 

PAHA Annual Board Meeting
Thursday, January 2, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taft Room

PAHA Registration Desk
Friday, January 3, 2014: 8:00 AM-2:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Registration Counter A

Protest and Exile
Friday, January 3, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taft Room
Chair: John Radzilowski, University of Alaska Southeast

"In America Forever or Only a Short Time": Brotherhood of Dispersed Solidarity Members
Mary Patrice Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University

Jewish Composers of Polish Music in 1943
Maja Trochimczyk, Moonrise Press

"On or Before January 1, 1972": Detente and the American East European Exile Programs
Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdansk

Comment: The Audience

Review of a 1943 Performance of Aleksander Tansman's Polish Rhapsody.

Polish Immigrant and Ethnic Women
Friday, January 3, 2014: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taft Room
Chair: Maja Trochimczyk, Moonrise Press 

What Women Wrote: Polish American Women Readers and Their Letter in Ameryka-Echo, 1902–69
Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Eastern Connecticut State University

Monica Krawczyk's Rebellious Women
Grazyna Kozaczka, Cazenovia College

Case Study of a c. 1912 Polish Immigrant: The Story of Ludovica Baldyga of Zalas, Poland and Clinton, Mass
Barbara Pulaski, Mount Ida College
Francis Wolenski, Millennium Pharmaceutical Co.

Comment: Mary Patrice Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University

Between the Revolutionary War and World War II
Friday, January 3, 2014: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taft Room
Chair: Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdansk

I Have a Bone to Pick: A Study of the Evidence for the Pulaski Burial
James Pula, Purdue University North Central

Captain Alexander Raszewski's Polish Legion and Other Lesser Known "Polish" Troops during the Civil War
Piotr Derengowski, University of Gdansk

Frantic 7 and the American Resupply Mission to Besieged Warsaw, 1944
John Radzilowski, University of Alaska Southeast

General Boleslaw Wieniawa-Dlugoszowski: The Last True Cavalry Officer of the Twentieth Century
Charles Chotkowski, Piast Institute

Comment: The Audience

Polish Immigrant and Ethnic Identities
Friday, January 3, 2014: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taylor Room
Chair: Mary Cygan, University of Connecticut at Storrs 

Mediating Nationalism: The Case of Gazeta Katolicka in Interwar Canada
Gabriela Pawlus Kasprzak, University of Toronto Scarborough

Career Patterns of Second Generation Polish Migrants in the United States, 1900–30
Pien Versteegh, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences

Respecting the Past, Embracing the Future: A Study of Polish American Public Opinion
Thaddeus Radzilowski, Piast Institute
Dominik Stecula, University of British Columbia

Confronting the Dynamic of American Polonia's Sands of Time
Anthony Bajdek, Northeastern University

Comment: The Audience 

Awards Banquet (by invitation only)
Friday, January 3, 2014: 7:00 PM-9:30 PM
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
2640 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20009 

PAHA Registration Desk
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 8:00 AM-2:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Registration Counter A

Polish and Polish American Religious Leaders and Communities
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taft Room
Chair: Theodore Zawistowski, Pennsylvania State University 

Building the Community: Oblates in the Canadian Polonia
Michal Kasprzak, Ryerson University

Poland's John Paul II: Pope and Cold Warrior in the Americas
Julia L. Sloan, Cazenovia College

Reverend Wincenty (Vincent) Barzynski, C.R.: A Nineteenth Century Transformative Leader for Chicago Polonia
Michael Dziallo, Westchester Public Schools

Comment: The Audience

Seventy-Five Years Later, Stories of World War II Emerge from Polonia's Basement
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taylor Room
Chair: Mary Patrice Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University 

The Power of Identity: Polish Children in Exile
Wesley Adamczyk, independent scholar

The Wall Speaks Project
Wojtek Sawa, Warsaw Academy of Advertising

Polish Legacy Project: World War II
Andy Golebiowski, Independent Photojournalist

Comment: The Audience

Polish Diaspora in America
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taft Room
Chair: Pien Versteegh, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences 

Polish History Sources in the Library of Congress's Manuscript Division
Frederick J. Augustyn, Library of Congress

Ken Parejko's Remember Me Dancing: A Literary and Historical Record of the Stara Emigracja
Thomas Napierkowski, University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Crossing the Boundaries of Modernity: The Transatlantic Journey of Polish Peasants to the United States
Marta Cieslak, University at Buffalo (State University of New York)

Our Own Language: Ceremony, Performance, and Dialect in the Polish Folk Theater
Mary Cygan, University of Connecticut at Storrs

Comment: The Audience

Book Forum: The United States and the Rebirth of Poland, 1914–18
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Taft Room
Chair: M. B. B. Biskupski, Central Connecticut State University

Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
James Pula, Purdue University North Central 

Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 5:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Jefferson Room
Chair: Mariusz Kotowski, independent filmmaker 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Polish Brigade at the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg was expected to be special. All historical organizations interested in Civil War have been invited: thousands of invitations were sent to reconstruction groups, the media, writers and Civil War enthusiasts from all around the world. The organizers have made a huge effort to prepare the staging of three of the bloodiest days in the history of the United States. We knew we could not miss it.

One of our goals when we started as a reenactment group in Poland in 2008 was a trip to the United States to participate in celebrations of the anniversary of this battle. Then it seemed quite unreal, but we made it – the 14th volunteer infantry regiment from Louisiana, The Polish Brigade, consisting of five soldiers, including one non-commissioned officer, arrived in Gettysburg, took part in the battle and went down in history...

For the re-enactment of the battle more than 20 thousand reenactors arrived from all fifty states and 16 countries, mainly from Europe. Among the foreigners, I have met some Germans that I knew from European ACW reconstruction events. We also met the Italians, who, like us, recreated 14th Regiment of Louisiana. In our unit there served many foreigners, so do we not surprised that our Italian colleagues decided to reconstruct that very regiment. Also there were not many units in the armies of Confederation that could boast of such spectacular achievements as the Polish Brigade. The sites for the reconstruction battle and camps for the two armies were located just a few miles from the Gettysburg National Military Park, among some small overgrown hills and rolling meadows.

It was difficult to count the encampments of individual regiments, brigades, divisions. You could get lost in an anthill of tents scattered over the vast stretches of meadows and forests. In addition to the infantry camps there were also separate camps for the cavalry (more than 300 horses!) and artillery (close to 200 cannons). This all created an atmosphere of a big military camp. As the eye could see soldiers everywhere strolled in ragged gray or navy blue uniforms, the sounds of drums could be heard in the distance, singing, shouted hoarse commands, whinnying of horses, rattling of cannon wheels on bumpy tracks and sounds of gunshots.

Together we prepared meals, cared for weapons, fireplace and high morale of our troops. . . Band of Brothers, thrown somewhere in the Pennsylvania woods waiting for orders. Walking around the camp I got to know people in different shades of uniforms, Confederate and Unionists. Many of them started their adventure with reconstruction over 40 years ago. During the entire event we fought in several decisive skirmishes influencing the course of action of the battle, such as this so important for us attempt to take Culp's Hill. There was also fight on the Wheat Field, for the Devil's Cave and the famous Pickett's attack. There were also cavalry clashes. Also the artillerymen, to the dismay of local residents, conducted artillery duels over the heads of the huddled soldiers, which lasted for hours. Day after day, no matter the weather – deadly heat or rain, we stood in long marching columns, with full pouches and canteens, ready to fight.

The organizers stood up to the challenge to recreate as faithfully as possible each individual battle. In my opinion, the Pickett attack and the attempt to take Little Round Top must have been very close to the authentic historical events (except for the casualties, of course). We set off in the morning to the hardships of the campaign and we came battered back before evening. We drank gallons of water and we cooled the heads and necks with ice.

During the fighting, smoke stung mercilessly in the eyes and visibility was limited to 20 meters due to heavy fire. Through the smoke the shouts and harsh commands of the officers were heard, their curses mixed with artillery fire and soldiers’ screams. People were falling down in large numbers and crawled for cover against enemy fire.

Behind the battle line, couriers on horseback systematically delivered new orders from headquarters to the officers. We heard ominous explosions, which pressed us to the ground and threw our banners. We marched in ranks to the fortified positions of the Yankees and performed intricate regiment maneuvers in regiments counting a few hundred people. We hid in the ditches or dense woodlands from the rifle fire. We repeatedly tried to take the Little Round Top. Suffering heavy losses again and again, we were driven back. The terrain was unfavorable for the charge, in dense undergrowth and under intense fire we had to wade through the thickets several meters uphill. Little remained of my regiment. I myself, in the fifth or sixth attempt to take the hill I fell wounded, sank onto a fallen tree. Sweat poured into my eyes and the rifle barrel burned my hands. The canteen was empty. Moments later the Unionists led a counterattack with bayonets fighting off my comrades. Somehow I have avoided captivity and despite exhaustion managed to sneak to my regiment. A lot of time had passed before I could breathe evenly again.

On the last day of the event we took part in a breathtaking Pickett's Charge. All our brigades have developed into three long, deep lines. With the support of our artillery fire, with developed banners we marched on the Union troops’ fortified positions. Despite heavy losses and fatigue, me and my Polish colleague as the only ones from our regiment managed to cross the wall and start hand to hand combat. The rest of our comrades lied on the foreground, some were "wounded" or "killed" and some withdrew to regroup. My companion fell moments later, and I had been cut down to the ground by an overgrown artilleryman. I heard above me: “Come with me ... and live!” and I saw the massive silhouette of the first sergeant. I was taken prisoner by the non-commissioned officer from the 72th Regiment of New York. We quickly became friends and since then we e-mail each other frequently...

"Corpses" on both sides lied densely, but fortunately, apart from scratches and bruises, there was no real and serious damage. After each clash, the Blues and the Grays congratulated themselves on the involvement and training, patted each other on the back and a friendly spread out to their camps. We regained strength an hour after the fight and the camp life was alive again. The Confederate songs were heard and the smell of fried food wafted in the air. It was time to clean weapons, exchange views and prepare for the next battle. I will never forget a very touching moment when we were bidden farewell by one of the veterans from Kentucky who had tears in his eyes. He could not hide his emotions when he learned that we traveled so many thousands of miles, just to take part in the celebration of the anniversary.

Although we were not able to change the course of history, we left the battlefield satisfied. Common interests unite people, regardless of country or origin. During these few days spent in and around Gettysburg we made friends with many of the Grey and the Blue.

By Piotr Narloch

Note from the Editor, Maja Trochimczyk:

Reprinted from Polish American Historical Association Newsletter, Fall 2013 pp. 12-13.
Photographs provided by Piotr Narloch. Used by permission.
Prof. James Pula gave a paper at the Gettysburg Conference and his report from the event will be published in the next issue of the newsletter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Conference Program and Other News


We are looking forward to meeting you in Washington, D.C. at PAHA’s Annual Meeting on January 2-4, 2014.  The conference will take place at Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20008. Phone: (202) 328-2000. 

The program of PAHA’s 2014 Annual Meeting has been posted on PAHA’s website and can be accessed at:

Our program is also available through the AHA website and can be searched by the presenter’s name, the title of the presentation, by the affiliated society, etc.:

You can register for the PAHA meeting at:

And pay PAHA’s annual membership dues at:

You may also pay the conference fees with a check made to Polish American Historical Association (write Conference 2014 on the note line), or you may use any major credit card.  The mail-in registration form was enclosed with the PAHA Newsletter. If you do not have it and still want to register provide the following information with your payment: 



2014 Conference Registration Fee: $20.00. NOTE: If you want to attend the American Historical Association meeting, you must also register with AHA.



2014 Awards Reception – Free, courtesy of the Polish Embassy. RSVP to attend

⎕Yes or  ⎕No

PAHA Annual Dues. Your dues must  be up-to-date to attend. Check or circle one.   
⎕Student: $25.00     ⎕ Individual: $40.00     
⎕Household: $50.00   ⎕Institution: $98.00  
⎕ Patron:   $100.00       ⎕Lifetime Individual: $500.00



Make a donation to PAHA. We appreciate any and all donations.

        ⎕$50.00        ⎕$100.00      ⎕$250.00        ⎕$500.00        ⎕Other $





Make your payment using a check payable to Polish American Historical Association and mail it by December 15, 2013 to: 2014 Conference, PAHA at Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley St., New Britain, CT 06050.  


Both the PAHA Newsletter and the Polish American Studies have been mailed to the members. You should have received your copy by now.  The following issues of both publications will be produced in about six months.  

Send your personal news items, articles, book reviews for the PAHA Newsletter to Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, Editor, maja@moonrisepress.com

Submit your articles for PAHA peer-reviewed journal Polish American Studies to the Editor, Prof. James Pula, jpula@pnc.edu.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Some Polish-American and Slavic Journals

PAHA Members and friends are typically familiar with the Association's own journal, The Polish American Studies, edited by James Pula, and with the Polish Review of the sister organization, Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences.  The Slavic Review is also widely recognized.  Below is a sampling of notable periodicals, print and online, that publish material about Polonia.


Sarmatian Review is an academic tri-quarterly on Polish and Polish American affairs. It is available by subscription (Harvard and Stanford subscribe to it). Its website is hosted by Rice University (www.ruf.rice.edu/~sarmatia). Back issues are free of charge and are available at the above address. Last year’s issues include a seminal article on the tradition of Polish Republicanism by Krzysztof Koehler (UKST, Poland), an analysis of Polish political strategies by Gen. Walter Jajko (IWP, Washington, DC), a bold analysis of Czeslaw Milosz’s and Tadeusz Gajcy’s poetry by Brigitte Gautier (University of Lille, France), and a splendid prose translation of Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz (in installments) by Christopher Zakrzewski (Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, Canada). There are also book reviews in each issue, as well as a unique SR Data section. SR was conceived by a group of American Polish scholars who noted a remarkable absence of Polish points of view in American scholarly periodicals. SR is aware of the requirements of scholarly objectivity, but the choice of topics and epistemological assumptions of writers defy these requirements. SR is a periodical for people who desire serious discussion of Polish affairs and are willing to make an effort to participate in it. If you like SR, please click “Like” on our FB page (Sarmatian Review - Polish Institute of Houston). Thanks!


 A transatlantic quarterly for people who like to read, write and think about Poland… in English. CR covers a broad range of topics: books, art, theatre, films, education, media, and contemporary life, as well as style in all forms - including architecture, fashion and food. Commentary, whether expressed in op-ed, interviews or conversations, communicates ideas among Poles and non-Poles alike, bridging expats in Poland with the Polish diaspora worldwide and the growing number of Poles in the “Heart of Europe” who enjoy reading in English. CR provides a home for readers and writers to share views, often leavened with a touch of humor, about the many challenges and joys of being Polish: the language, the names, the tough 20th century, the best poetry and the bravest men and women in the world, the North American passion for folk dancing, the faith and the irreverence, music both classical and jazz, and just plain tenacity. More information: www.cosmopolitanreview.com


 The Slavic and East European Folklore Association is devoted to an exchange of knowledge among scholars interested in Slavic and East European Folklore. SEEFA promotes instruction and research in Slavic and East European folklore, organizes panels on the subject at national and international conferences, encourages the preparation of teaching materials and translations, and fosters exchanges. The Association’s journal is Folklorica and is available by subscriptions (3 years) and digital archives. More information: www.seefa.org 


 The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL), founded in 1941, exists to advance the study and promote the teaching of Slavic and East European languages, literatures, and cultures on all educational levels, elementary through graduate school. While the largest proportion of its activities and members concentrate in the area of Russian, AATSEEL has from the beginning stressed that it embraces all Slavic and East European languages, literatures, linguistics and cultures. AATSEEL holds an annual conference in January of each year; its publications include the Slavic and East European Journal (four times a year) and the AATSEEL Newsletter (four times a year). www.aatseel.org

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Father's Trip to Poland in 1936 - By Phyllis Zych Budka

In 2008, as I prepared for my second trip to Poland, I opened an old wooden box containing my Father’s things. In it was a diary of his summer 1936 Poland trip along with other Polish‐American Scouts and Scout leaders. He was 23 years old at that time. Included in the box was a flier advertising the trip:

We believe that when these youth come to know the fatherland of their ancestors, they will come to love it and come to respect it and have within them a deep unbreakable feeling of connection to the blood, culture and spirit of Poland from afar. And then, when their love for everything Polish flows into their hearts, this youth will understand the importance of standing on free land and tradition here in Washington and to protect and to build upon the beautiful heritage of their forefathers in the form of Polish organizations, newspapers, churches and schools.

My Father, Stanley Jacob Zych, was a Scout Leader with Council 53 of the Polish National Alliance (PNA) on Crane Street in Schenectady, New York. He was born in 1913 in Schenectady of immigrant parents from Nowy Targ, Poland. Dad and fellow Schenectadian Mary Pieszczoch were the “special envoys” selected to represent the PNA on this trip.

Budka's father in a group  photo during their Polish travels.

They sailed in early July from New York City on the M.S. Batory ocean‐liner along with more than 100 other young Americans. The first brief stop was Copenhagen, Denmark. On July 10th, the group landed in Gdynia, Poland. After touring that port city, they visited Poznań, Częstochowa, Zakopane, Kraków, Wieliczka, Lwów and Warsaw. Their final destination was Camp Brenna, Śląsk. The list of their names and travel plans were published in a booklet, “Jedziemy do Polski” (We are going to Poland; Karol Burke, Drukiem Dziennika Związkowego, Chicago, Il, 1936).

Batory enters the harbor in Gdynia

In the summer of 2008, I served as a teacher volunteer at the Kościuszko Foundation – UNESCO English Language Immersion Camp in Kraków, Poland. For 3 weeks, 17 Americans, many, like myself, of Polish heritage, and more than 100 high school students from all over Poland, lived, studied and laughed together. In my suitcase was a copy of the pages from my Father’s trip diary. He documented his two weeks at the Scout camp in Brenna, Śląsk, southern Poland, mostly in English, with parts in Polish. My Father was fluent in Polish. As Language Immersion Camp newspaper editor I requested that my homeroom students transcribe the English or translate from Polish these diary pages for publication. That process sparked my interest in the details of the 1936 trip:

July 13th, 1936, Place: Częstochowa and somewhere between Częstochowa and Nowy Targ: We arrived at 5.45 AM by buses at Jasna Góra. Near the gateway, we met our procession and came into the church to the altar of Częstochowa Holy Mother (sometimes called the Black Madonna). A priest blessed us. Next we visited Skarbiec Jasnogórski where there are a lot of different old buildings. Next we went to a monastery for breakfast. After breakfast, buses took us to the railway and we went to Zakopane. At 10:00 AM, we passed through a beautiful area. About midday we arrived at the railway station in Kraków and soon set out on a journey. About 6:00 PM we passed through Nowy Targ. I stopped here so I could meet my family. I slept at Wincenty Kolasa’s home.

July 14th, 1936, Place: Zakopane: At 8:30 in the morning we took the train to Zakopane. We went to the Hotel Limka and had breakfast. At 10:00 AM we took buses to Morskie Oko and saw the Paderewski waterfall; next we climbed to the top of the mountain and saw Black Lake.

July 26th , 1936 Sunday, Place: Camp Brenna, Śląsk: We arrived in camp at 10:00 AM and had army coffee and hot dogs. Got right down to business putting up tents. I spent the rest of the day building beds, grub racks also swimming Pool. Went out on general food strike. Won out the point. Had Tough Camp officer. Breaking him in slowly.

Batory Stamp from Poland

My own awareness that the trip was a special experience for my Father came in 1986. Trip participants held a “50th Anniversary P.N.A. Batory Cruise Reunion” on Saturday, September 20, 1986, in Chicago. By that time, my Father had been disabled for many years and could not attend. But in that old wooden box is a large “Get‐Well Wishes For Someone Special” card full of good wishes from reunion attendees. It must have been a great trip!


This post is reprinted from PAHA Newsletter, Spring 2011, p. 6-7.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On Hejnal Mariacki and the Soundscape of Krakow

The silver tones of the trumpet brighten the crisp morning air. The trumpeter, unseen, plays from the top of the tower of the Marian Church in the Main Square of Kraków, Poland. It is still foggy and the streets are almost empty, save for delivery trucks and the most courageous flower sellers filling their vases with water in the market. The melody is called “Hejnał Mariacki” and named after the Marian Church where it is played four times at every hour from tower windows opening to the four directions of the world. The Hejnał flows and echoes off the rooftops until it suddenly ends, as if interrupted. This abrupt end, repeated each hour, every day (96 times per day, if all repetitions are counted) is a memorial of sorts.

 A legend has it that during a Mongol invasion in the 13th century the Hejnał, played as a warning by the town’s guard, was cut short by an arrow that killed the trumpeter and the melody has been played the same way ever since. Actually, as documented by historian Jerzy Dobrzycki (Hejnał Krakowski, Kraków: PWM, 1983), there is no historical proof of that story and the first record of the melody’s existence dates back to 1392; it was initially played at dawn and dusk, to mark the opening and closing of the town’s gates. It has sounded daily since 1810, and the performances were institutionalized in 1873 when the professional Fire Brigade was created in Kraków and the firemen were given the task of playing the Hejnał. Four full‐time musicians serve on rotation around the clock, they ring the bell to denote the hour and then play the melody.

One of them, Zygmunt Rozum interviewed on ikrakow.com, said: “Life is very fast. But here for centuries traditionally the Hejnał was played every hour and will be played every hour. I am not in a rush here; exactly every hour, I play the Hejnał.”

Since 1927, the Polish Radio has broadcast the noon performance nationwide. This allows us to discuss the different meanings of this melody. The Hejnał sounds different to Kraków residents and to those who hear it on the radio. Their memories or recollections have markedly different emotional undertones. During my Polish childhood in the 1960s and 1970s, the noon performance was broadcast by Polskie Radio 1 (“Jedynka”); it is still on air daily. The four repetitions of the melody, separated by the steady steps of the trumpeter walking from window to window, appear after the 12 strokes of the bell announcing noon. The bell, the steps, the squeaking windows, and the trumpet melody are all part of the performance on air.

I regularly heard it only during summer vacations at my grandparents’ houses, since we did not listen to “Jedynka” at home, in Warsaw. I have always liked it, with its overtones of freedom and fun of the summer, with its air of mystery – What was that noise? Who’s walking? The regularity of the noon Hejnał transformed it into a part of the daily routine for children and their caretakers: hearing Hejnał meant it was time for nap after lunch. It was an aural security blanket of sorts. Played daily at the same time, it told children that the world was well‐ordered and peaceful, filling them with a sense of trust and belonging… or so I thought until I interviewed other émigrés from Poland.

Biologist and UCLA Lab Director Barbara Nowicki stated, “I never liked the Hejnał on the radio, it was interminable, boring, awful. I do not have good memories of it.” Composer Jarosław Kapuściński (Assistant Professor at Stanford University, California) wrote: “Everyone in our generation always heard the Hejnał somewhere in the background, on the radio. I did not pay much attention to it, though subconsciously it reminded me that somewhere in Kraków there lives Poland’s heart that ticks‐and‐tocks loudly (trumpet), interminably (the four repetitions to the four corners of the world extended to infinity) and – in the romantic‐Christian tradition – also heroically (I do not know how many cultures would cherish daily reminders that one of their heroes has just been killed).”

Neither the steps nor the mysterious noises of opening and closing of the windows are heard live, in the city below. During the Fifth Workshop on American Ethnicity at Jagiellonian University in May 2012, I listened to the Hejnał several times each day – in my hotel room on Floriańska Street, while walking around the Old Town, in the lecture hall at Collegium Maius of the University, and at a restaurant just beyond the part of Planty, surrounding the Old Town in a ring where the historical fortifications once were. The trumpet sounded muted, distant, with only one version of the melody heard clearly – the one directed towards me. The faint repetitions played in other directions were scattered, in bits and pieces.

I have not heard the Hejnał since leaving Poland over 20 years ago, so I was really moved by the sound on my first day in Kraków. My response to the Hejnał was echoed in its praise by others. A retired school principal from the village of Trzebieszów (Lublin region), Barbara Miszta, stated: “For me, the Hejnał is joyous, rhythmical, uplifting! When I hear its broadcast by the Polish Radio, I immediately know it is noon...and the image of the Mariacki Tower in Kraków comes to mind.”

Similarly positive were Kraków residents, musicians Mariusz and Łucja Czarnecki. An accomplished soprano, teaching at the Kraków Academy of Music, Ms. Czarnecki stated: “Hejnał Mariacki, played every hour by a trumpeter to the four corners of the world, played in the heart of Kraków, the city of the kings, from its highest church tower, where people with upturned faces look high up, above the clouds, feeling in these sounds their Polishness, the Slavic nature of their souls, a joy that overflows in their hearts! For foreigners it is also an exceptional moment. While admiring the Main Square (Rynek Główny) they enjoy listening to the Hejnał from the Mariacki Tower, and they wave to greet the trumpeter. Delighted with the charms of Kraków they listen with a smile on their faces, thinking about their loved ones, left far away… The sounds of Hejnał have a magic power and transport everyone into a metaphysical trance.”

Quite similar is the tone of the reflections of Mariusz Czarnecki, a percussionist and a true Cracovian. His comments are rooted in the aural landscape where the melody is heard day and night: “Of course, I like the Hejnał! If you live in the town’s center it defines time, it obviously is also a tourist attraction. But I remember these magic moments in the fall when the square is nearly empty, foggy, and above it all there soars the Hejnał with the hourly chimes of the church bells. Then you feel the magic of Kraków at its best – the Hejnał defines time and simultaneously floats above it. There are many magical places in Kraków at night, where the Hejnał takes you into another dimension of time. It is too loud here during the day, when the city is solely a tourist attraction, but in the early hours of the morning it is something else. You will find echoes of it in the Young Poland literature, even in Wyspiański’s The Wedding – the magic Golden Horn… The heart of Kraków, at night, at dawn, with the mist and the Hejnał – this is pure genius.”

Conclusion? Live music = pure genius. Radio broadcast = not so much… I should add that the Polish Radio is planning to shorten the broadcast to two repetitions of the Hejnał and that Polish Americans may remember the melody and its legend from a tale by Eric P. Kelly, The Trumpeter of Kraków (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1928).

 Maja Trochimczyk

 Reprinted from PAHA Newsletter Vol. 69 no. 2, October 2012.
All interviews were conducted by email, August 2012.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Who was Tadeusz Wittlin? An Introduction by Peter Obst

Wittlin in Anders' Army, 1942
Tadeusz Wittlin (1909-1998) is probably one of the least known Polish writers who have had an outstanding career in the United States. Born in 1909, he attended the University of Warsaw earning separate masters degrees in law (1932) and the arts(1933). Soon he gave up the practice of law in favor of a position as an editor on the staff of a satirical magazine, Cyrulik Warszawski (Warsaw Barber). By then he had already published volume of poetry and a novel. When World War II began in 1939 he joined the Polish armed forces and soon found himself in Russian captivity. 

Freed under an agreement worked out by Gen. Sikorski when Germany turned on its former Soviet ally, Wittlin travelled across Russia to join the Polish Army being formed at Buzuluk in the Southern Ural Mountains.He served as a Public Relations Officer and an editor of Parada, a news magazine published for the Polish Armed Forces. After the war he briefly worked in Paris before emigrating to the United States where initially he was a translator and writer for Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. In 1959, he became editor at the United States Information agency’s Polish language publication Ameryka which enjoyed a large circulation in Poland. In 1961 he brought Genia Galewska, his pre-war fiancée,to the United States from Poland an they were married in Washington, DC.

Wittlin and wife in Washington, D.C., 1958

Wittlin published 16 books that include Time Stopped at 6:30 (about Katyn), Commissar: The Life and Death of Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria, and a set of sketches about his time in Russia, entitled A Reluctant Traveler in Russia

His last book was Szabla i Kon (The Saber and the Horse), a biography of Gen. Boleslaw Wieniawa-Dlugoszowski in which he included some of his own experiences from the inter-war period in Poland. He died in 1998,followed by his wife Genia in 2012.During their time in Washington, D.C., they kept an open house for Polish writers, artists and intellectuals. 

Among photographs and papers that were left as a part of his archive is a fascinating study of the passing of the Beat Generation in the early 1960s. This book was at first entitled Tales from the White Horse Tavern and later renamed Left Bank, New York. It still awaits publication. 

Additional information about Tadeusz Wittlin may be found at: www.poles.org/DB/W_names/Wittlin_T/Wittlin_T.html


Reprinted from PAHA Newsletter, vol. 69, no. 1 (Spring 2012)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Marek Probosz about Captain Witold Pilecki

Six years after the premiere of The Death Of Captain Pilecki directed by Ryszard Bugajski and starring Marek Probosz in the title role, the stark film still attracts a lot of attention around the world. In October 2011, the Polish Cultural Center in London, U.K., celebrated the 110th birth anniversary of Pilecki with a screening of this astounding film about the Captain’s tragic death and a meeting with Mr. Probosz. Additional screenings took place planned in Poland and California, the two “residences” of the star.

Who was Witold Pilecki, why is Probosz promoting him, and why we (most of us, in any case) have never heard about him? One of the forgotten heroes of World War II, Captain Witold Pilecki (May 13, 1901 – May 25, 1948) He played a crucial role in obtaining information about the atrocities at Auschwitz death camp, fought in the 1921 war against the Soviet Invasion of Poland and in the Warsaw Uprising. His exploits are almost unthinkable to all, who are focused more on their personal survival than doing the right thing. If there was a living embodiment of heroism anywhere on the planet, Pilecki is it.

As a seventeen-year old Boy Scout, Pilecki participated in World War I in a Polish self-defense unit. He soon enlisted in the Polish Army (cavalry) and fought in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920 – defending Grodno, and participating in the Battle of Warsaw, and the liberation of Wilno. He received two Crosses of Valor for this campaign. Then, he came back to finish high school, continue his military training, work on his family estate, marry and raise a family. Ever dedicated to volunteering and social causes, he received the Silver Cross of Merit in 1938 for his contributions to the community. In August 1939, Pilecki returned to active service as a cavalry commander, participating in the September campaign. It may seem improbable, but his horse-mounted troops fighting near Lwow (now Lviv) were able to shoot down a German plane and destroy two other planes and seven German tanks.

Pilecki in Auschwitz, 1941

After the Soviet invasion of Poland, Pilecki returned to Warsaw where he co-founded the Secret Polish Army that grew to 8,000 men and became one of the seed-groups of the Home Army. In 1940, Pilecki volunteered to be arrested and sent to the German Concentration Camp at Auschwitz (“Tomasz Serafinski”) in order to gather intelligence for the Allies. (Wladyslaw Bartoszewski was arrested along with 2,000 other Poles in the same street roundup in Warsaw).

As a prisoner no. 4859, Pilecki formed an underground Union of Military Organizations in the camp to help inmates, provide news, and improve morale. The group also sent out the first intelligence reports from the inside, proving the reality of the Holocaust to the Allied command. (The International Red Cross delegation visited the camps in September 1944 and saw nothing unusual; the Allies refused to believe Pilecki’s reports, intervene and bomb the camp to stop the atrocities and help inmates). After escaping from the camp in 1943 and stealing some German documents to prove the reality of the improbable, Pilecki participated in the Warsaw Uprising, again with heroic results. Following the capitulation of the Home Army in Warsaw, and after being imprisoned by the Germans at Zambinowice and Murnau, Pilecki joined the Second Polish Corps in Italy and, after the war ended, accepted General Anders’ orders to return to Poland and gather information for the Polish government in exile. Caught, tortured and executed in 1948, Pilecki was rehabilitated only in 1990. He posthumously received the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish state honor.

His story makes us uneasy, both because of the superhuman heroism, intelligence, survival skills, and virtue, and because of the tragic and senseless destruction of such a worthy life. Infamously, Józef Cyrankiewicz— Poland’s Prime Minister in 1947-1952 and 1954-1970 and the country’s President in 1970-1972—testified against Pilecki and his companions during the public trials. Ryszard Bugajski’s film The Death of Captain Pilecki transfers our discomfort to the screen, as it visualizes the imprisonment, trial, torture and death of a true war hero. The film is so effective in bringing Pilecki’s story to life due to the talents of Marek Probosz, a Polish-American actor, director, writer and producer, based in Los Angeles and professionally active in Poland and the U.S., with over 50 films as well as screenplays, books and theatrical performances to his credit.

In June 2011, Marek Probosz traveled to Oswiecim where the State Higher Vocational School was named after the war hero. The school is located in the buildings where the first prisoners sent to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp were held in 1940. At the solemn dedication ceremony, a memorial tree was planted, and Probosz read fragments of Pilecki’s reports. He also received a commemorative Witold Pilecki medal, awarded to those who were dedicated to his ideal of remaining “Invincible to the end” (Do końca niezłomny). The event also featured the publication of a volume of studies about Pilecki and other Auschwitz prisoners, Free and Enslaved (Wolni i zniewoleni), a result of a 2009 conference held in Oswiecim. Probosz contributed to the proceedings an article “To save the Spirit of Witold Pilecki.”

When asked about his interest in becoming Captain Pilecki on the screen, Probosz answered: “The arrival of Captain Pilecki in my life was an unexpected joy. The proposal of impersonating one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century was for me a great challenge, a way to give justice to history that was completely denied by the communists. The more I studied the tragic fate of this hero, the more delighted I was with his spiritual and physical power. I could not stop reading about him. Pilecki never gave up, he kept his dignity and internal freedom to his last breath. His final words before his execution at the Rakowiecka Prison in May 1948 were “Long live free Poland” (“Niech żyje wolna Polska"). To identify with Pilecki transformed me internally. After the completion of the film, I still felt a need to share his incredible history with the world. Five years after the premiere, I still travel around the world with The Death of Captain Pilecki, I meet audiences of many nationalities and discuss the phenomenon of Pilecki’s human nature. I repeat his mantra: “We raise our children to become honest people.” Political and social regimes always change, depending on the global balance of powers, but the final truths – love, freedom, truth, nobility – are universal and eternal. You get them from your mother. If we become aware of the responsibility that we carry, there is a chance that a new generation of heroes would be raised – new Pileckis. In Poland and around the world.”

Probosz responded to my second question, about the significance of Pilecki’s heroism with the following comment: “Pilecki is so important to us today, because the world we live in is in the throes of a profound inflation of the most important moral values. We miss true, uncorrupted, invincible heroes, who remain faithful to their ideals to the last breath. The character of Pilecki deserves a great, epic film that should be known to the whole world.

We had in Poland a James Bond who was not a fictitious super-agent, but a true hero of all nations. He is the only person in the world who volunteered to go to the death camp at Auschwitz in order to organize underground resistance among the prisoners and to liberate, without religious, racial or ethnic divisions, all the prisoners. We dream about such characters, we invent them in literature and film and here, such a story is written in blood, it is a true story of a Polish national hero.”

Whether he’s teaching, writing, directing, or performing in Poland and the U.S., Marek Probosz has vowed to keep alive the memory of Captain Pilecki, one of the greatest heroes that the world has ever known.


Article by Maja Trochimczyk, reprinted from Polish American Historical Association Newsletter, Fall 2011.   Photos of Marek Probosz as Captain Pilecki from The Death of Captain Pilecki.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Polish- and Polish Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel Medal from 1947

Poland contributed many names to the list of Nobel Prize winners in arts and sciences. The following list of 19 distinguished individuals connected to Poland by birth, language, or residence, was published in PAHA Newsletters in 2010. http://www.polishamericanstudies.org/newsletters.html

How many Poles have won the Nobel Prize? This depends on how you count. The full list of everyone with Polish ancestors and those born in wha tis now or was Poland includes 16 names and 17 Nobel Prizes: Poles, Americans, Canadians, French citizens, an Israeli and a Swiss. They won five Nobel Prizes in Literature, four in Physics,three in Physiology or Medicine, three Peace Prizes, and  two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry. A shortlist of Poles from Poland would include: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Lech Wałęsa,Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz (though he defined himself as and both a Pole and a Lithuanian, from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania). A longer list of scientists who became double (or triple) citizens of several countries would consist of: Maria Skłodowska‐Curie (French), Tadeusz Reichstein (Swiss), Georges Charpak (French), Andrew Schally, Frank Wilczek and Jack W. Szostak (Canadian‐American). Isidor Rabi, Isaac Bashevis Singer (who wrote in Yiddish), Roald Hoffmann, and Joseph Rotblat were both American and Jewish, with more or less distant roots in Poland. Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, was born in Poland and served in the Polish Army under Gen. Anders, but spent most of his life in Israel. Another Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres was also born in Poland and fluent in Polish.


1. Marie (Maria) Skłodowska‐Curie,Nobel Prize for Physics, 1903,Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1911: Known to many as Madame Curie, Maria was born on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw. She left Poland for Parisin 1891 to study sciences,following in the footsteps of her sister Bronisława. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris,funded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw. She worked with her husband Pierre Curie, with whom she shared a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 (alongside Henri Becuqerel). Maria Skłodowska‐Curie created the theory and name of radioactivity, discovered techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes and is credited with the discovery and naming of two new elements, polonium and radium. She also pioneered the treatment of cancer using radioactive isotopes. She is the first person honored by two Nobel Prizes.Her 1911 award was given “in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element."

Henryk Sienkiewicz by Kazimierz Mordasewicz
 2. Henryk Sienkiewicz, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1905: Born on May 5, 1845 (as Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius), on his family estate in Wola Okrzejska, Podlasie, a part of the Russian Empire, Sienkiewicz belonged to impoverished gentry family and became a journalist and novelist. A prolific author of historical fiction, Sienkiewicz wrote over 60 volumes of novels,stories, essays, and travelogues.

His adventures in California with a group of emigrants headed by Helena Modrzejewska gave rise to his first successful travel reportage and his recognition as a journalist.He received the Nobel Prize for his “outstanding merits as an epic writer.” Sienkiewicz’s historical fiction like the Trilogy and the Teutonic Knights contributed to the national fervor in Poland and paved the road to regaining independence. He died on November 15, 1916.

3.Władysław Reymont, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1924: Born on May 7, 1867 in a village of Kobiele Wielkie near Radomsko, Reymont (b. Rejment, he formally changed his name) was largely self‐taught. A certificate as a journeyman tailor was his only proof of formal education.He first tried to establish himself as an actor,repeatedly running away from home to join travelling theater groups, but having failed in that,turned to writing full‐time, and started publishing short stories and novels. His prolific literary output consists of 30 volumes. The Nobel Prize recognized the merits of his naturalistic novel Chłopi (The Peasants). Reymont died on December 5, 1925.

4. Isidor Isaac Rabi,Nobel Prize in Physics, 1944: Born on 29 July 1898 in Rymanów, Galicia, a part of Austro‐Hungarian Empire now in Poland, Rabi came to the U.S. the next year and is known as an American physicist of Jewish descent. He graduated from Cornell University (B.A.) and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1927). After graduation, he stayed at Columbia, specializing in nuclear physics.His discovery of the magnetic resonance detection method was recognized by the Nobel Committee in 1944. His research had practical results in the  creation of radar, laser, and atomic clock. He died on 11 January 1988 in New York.

5. Tadeusz Reichstein,Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1950: Born on July 20, 1897 in Włocławek, in central Poland,then a part of the Russian Empire, he moved with his family to Kiev, Jena and to Zurich, Switzerland, where he became a Swiss citizen and embarked on his career. Associated with the University of Basel, Reichstein is recognized for his invention of a method of synthesizing Vitamine. His prize,shared with two scientists,rewarded his work on the hormones of the adrenal cortex and the discovery of the cortisone.He died on August 1, 1996 in Basel.

6. Andrzej "Andrew" Viktor Schally,Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1977: Born on November 30, 1926, in Wilno, the capital of Lithuania (then in Poland, now Vilnius in Lithuania), Schally is a son of Brigadier Kazimerz Schally, chief of cabinet for President Ignacy Mościcki. Schally was educated in theU.K. and received his doctorate from McGill, Canada (1957). In his Nobel Prize autobiography, he described himself as being of “Polish, Austro‐Hungarian, French and Swedish ancestry” and he became an American citizen in 1962. As an endocrinologist he worked at Tulane University and is now at Miami VA Medical Center in Florida.His prize was shared by Roger Guillemin (“for their discoveries concerning peptide hormone production in the brain”) and Rosalyn Yalow.

7. Isaac Bashevis Singer,Nobel Prize in Literature, 1978: Born on November 21, 1902, in the village of Leoncin near Warsaw, in the Russian Empire, Singer came from a prominent Hassidic family; hisfather was a rabbi and they lived in Jewish quarters in Radzymin, Warsaw, and Biłgoraj. Singer’s religious studies were not finished and in 1935 he emigrated to the U.S., where he worked as a journalist and established his literary career.He wrote novels and short stories in Yiddish to save the e language from oblivion, and helped translate his works into English. Singer died on July 24, 1991.

8. Menachem Begin, Nobel Peace Prize, 1978: Born as Mieczysław Biegun on August 16, 1913 in Brest‐Litovsk (Brześć Litewski), Poland, in a Jewish family, and educated at the Mizrachi Hebrew School and the Polish Gymnasium (High School).He studied law at the University of Warsaw (1935) and was involved in nationalist Zionist movements. In 1940 he was arrested by the Soviets and spent a year in a gulag in Siberia, before being released under the Stalin/Sikorski agreement, and joining the Anders Army that took him to Palestine. Since 1943, he was active in Palestine and then Israel as a leader and politician. While serving as the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel, he negotiated a peace treaty with Egypt,for which he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Anwar Sadat.

Milosz in 1986

9. Czesław Miłosz, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1980: Born on June 39, 1911 in the village of Seteniai in Central Lithuania, a part of the Russian Empire, Milosz came from a Polish noble family. He refused to identify himself as either a Pole or a Lithuanian – and both nations claimed him, but his choice of language, Polish,made him a Polish poet. In 1951, while working as a cultural attaché in the Polish Embassy in Paris, he claimed political asylum, and in 1960 he emigrated to the U.S., where he was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley from 1968 to 1998. After retiring, he returned to Poland,settling in Kraków,the magnet for poets, where he died on August 14, 2004.

 10. Roald Hoffmann,Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1981: Born on July 18, 1937 in Złoczów (now in Ukraine), Hoffmann came from a Jewish family and the majority of his relatives perished in the Holocaust. He and his mother survived and Hoffmann later funded a monument to the victims in his hometown.He emigrated first to England and then to the U.S., where he studied at Columbia University (B.A.) and Harvard (M.A. and Ph.D. in Chemistry).Hoffmann teaches at Cornell University, Ithaca. The Nobel Prize (shared with Kenichi Fukui) recognized his contributions to chemistry including work on reaction mechanisms and the discovery of the “isolobal principle” in organo‐metallic chemistry.He is also a published poet, author of a play and broadcasts about arts and science.He is named after a Norwegian discoverer, Roald Amundsen.

11. Lech Wałęsa,Nobel Peace Prize, 1983: Born on 29 September 1943, in Popowo, Wałęsa was an electrician by training and aGdańsk shipyard worker by avocation, before becoming the leader and spokesman of Solidarity,the firstfree‐trade union formed in an Eastern Block country in 1980. The rise ofthe Solidaritymovement was a decisive step in the fall ofthe communistsystemand the Soviet empire.Walesa later became a politician and served asthe President of Poland (1990‐1995).

12.Georges Charpak,Nobel Prize in Physics, 1992: Born on August 1, 1924 in a village Dąbrowica, now inUkraine, hemoved to France as a child. Spending his entire career as a nuclear physicist, he wast he inventor of particle detectors for which he received the Nobel Prize as a sole winner. During the war, Charpak was active in the resistance, captured and imprisoned at Dachau.He became a French citizen in 1948 and received his doctorate in nuclear physics in 1954 from College de France, later working in the lab of Frederic Joliot‐Curie. He is an advocate for peaceful uses of nuclear power.

13.Joseph (Józef) Rotblat, Nobel Peace Prize, 1995: Born on November 4, 1908 in Warsaw, Rotblat came from an affluent Jewish family and became a nuclear physicist, with a doctorate from the University of Warsaw (1938).

A specialist in nuclear fission, he worked with James Chadwick (who had won a Nobel Prize for discovering the neutron) at Liverpool University and together they joined the Manhattan Project. Rotblat left the Project due to his anti‐war views and returned to England where he continued his research on nuclear fallout.His discoveries led to banning aerial nuclear bomb tests and he became one of the most vocal opponents of the nuclear arms race, serving as the president of the influential Pugwash Conferences. The Nobel Peace Prize recognized him and the Pugwash Conferences for this work.He died in Paris on August 31, 2005.

14. Wisława Szymborska,Nobel Prize in Literature, 1996.  Born on July 2 1923 in Kornik, since 1931 she lived in Krakow. After spending the war years in Germany as a forced laborer,she attended Jagiellonian University, but never graduated. She is known as a poet, essayist and translator. Since 1945 she published a relatively small, but highly regarded body of about 250 poems, while working as a poetry editor for the weekly Życie Literackie. She wrote in Polish and her poetry is widely available in translation. She died in Krakow on February 1, 2012.

15. Frank Wilczek,Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004: Born in 1951 in the U.S. Wilczek’s family came from Poland (paternal line) and from Italy (maternal line). In his Nobel Prize autobiography he stated, “my grandparents emigrated from Europe in the aftermath of World War I, as young teenagers; on my father's side they came from Poland and on my mother's side from Italy, near Naples. My grandparents arrived with nothing, and no knowledge of English.”He was educated in public schools in Queens,NY, and graduated from the University of Chicago and Princeton where he selected physics for his career, now working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Nobel Prize was shared with his former mentor David J.Gross and H.David Politzer, “for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction."

16. Jack William Szostak,Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, 2009: Born on November 9, 1952, in London, and raised in Canada (in Montreal and Ottawa), Szostak is a biologist and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.He also works for Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He shared the Nobel Prize with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol W.Greider, "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

He also constructed the world's first yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) that helped map the location of genes and contributed to the development of the Human Genome Project.

Based on the biographies on the website of NobelPrize.org and two different award listings by Wikipedia.  Quotations from Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes, published by Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, 2000‐2009. http://www.polishamericanstudies.org/pdf/2010-spring-newsletter.pdf

ADDITIONAL NAMES (in PAHA Newsletter, Fall 2010)
(added by Monika Glowacka Musial)

17. Albert Michelson (1852–1931) was born into a Jewish family in Strzelno, Provinz Posen in the Kingdom of Prussia, now Poland. He moved to the United States with his parents when he was two years old. Michelson is mostly known for his measurements of the speed of light with the ground breaking precision, using an interferometer of his own design. The famous Michelson‐Morley experiment showed that light  travels at a constants peed regardless the system of reference. The surprising result, at that time considered by Michelson as a failure, had a great impact on formulation of the Lorentz transformation and, indirectly, of the special theory of relativity. Michelson received the Nobel Prize in 1907 as the first American scientist.

18. Leonid Hurwicz was born in 1917 in Moscow to a Polish‐Jewish family, displaced by World War I. Soon after his birth and right before the October Revolution,the family returned to Warsaw. Hurwicz received his degree in law in 1938 from the University of Warsaw were he discovered his future vocation while taking the obligatory class in economy.He emigrated to the United States in 1940. Hurwicz is best known for his contribution to the mechanism design theory which is used for explaining interactions among individuals, institutions and markets. As one of the first researchers to apply the game theory in economy, he proposed the most efficient formula for an organization to reach a desired outcome,taking into account individuals' knowledge and self‐ interest, which may be hidden or private.


(added in May 2013 by Witold Sokolowski)

19. Shimon Peres, born Szymon Perski in August 1923 in Wiszniewo (Vilnius region, now Lithuania). He left Poland in 1934 and emigrated to Israel, where he has served as the ninth President of Israel since 2007. An official in the Department of Defense since 1952, he was first elected to political office in 1959. An oldest head of state in office, he was twice the Prime Minister of Israel. In 1994, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Ytzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, for peace talks between the Israeli and the Palestinians that led to the Oslo Peace Accords.


Illustrations from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.